Vacations are supposed to be about escape, relaxation, and freedom from stress. Right?
But often, as you get ready to leave town (and even once you’ve arrived at your destination), you’re confronted with the same bleeping noise and stress you intended to leave behind.
So how can you avoid letting stress ruin your vacation? Especially on Labor Day weekend, when the sheer number of people traveling creates traffic jams, airport delays, and jam-packed beaches.
We asked Dandapani, a former Hindu monk, New York City-based meditation teacher, and founder of spiritual-travel outfitter Vedic Odyssey, to teach us how to use meditation to send our stress packing.
Here are his tips to get you through some (unfortunately familiar) vacation scenarios:
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
You’re fretting the night before about how much to pack, driving directions, and not having internet access for four days in a row. What can you do?
Find a quiet place at home, sit down with your spine straight, and breathe slowly for three minutes. On each out breath feel yourself exhaling any stress, worries or concerns. Next, regulate your breath for three minutes. You do this by keeping the duration of your in breath the same as the duration of your out breath. These two simple breathing techniques will help calm you by bringing the forces of the physical body under your control and allowing you to take control of your mind as well. Once you’re in a relaxed state, THEN make a list of all the things you have to do to get ready. Sort them by priority, and knock out one at a time.
Traffic has ground to a halt on the Long Island Expressway and now you’re slated to miss your check-in time and dinner reservations. Your first night of vacation is already a huge disappointment. How can you redeem it?
The first night may not have worked out the way you planned it, but remember you have the rest of your vacation to look forward to. Adopt the power of being spontaneous! Being spontaneous rips you loose from old habit patterns. It fills you with new life, utilizing the life that you have. If you can be spontaneous in your life, and not throw up any objections, you leave yourself open to unlimited possibilities in any sphere. (May Well+Good also suggest a spontaneous stop at the swim-up bar?)
DURING YOUR VACATION
You get up early for a beach run and to put your umbrella down on the idyllic spot in the sand, when a family of loud-talking smokers puts their blanket and boom box within arm’s length. How can you possibly ignore them?
Find another idyllic spot on the beach. Vacation is time for you to focus on you—a time to rejuvenate your mind, body and emotions. Choosing the right company and surroundings is essential to successfully achieving this. Meditation teaches you how to live your life positively, and one of the ways you do this is by choosing to minimize complications. —Lisa Elaine Held